Cinematographers

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“We Only Zoom In on This Show! We Don’t Zoom Out!” DP Jody Lee Lipes on I Know This Much is True and Shooting 600 Hours of 35mm

Jody Lee Lipes’ first answer was drowned out by a cacophonous eruption outside his window. We’d scheduled our interview about HBO’s new show I Know This Much Is True for 7 pm—the time when New Yorkers take to their windows and balconies each night to shower frontline workers with cheers of appreciation. Wally Lamb’s source novel was released in 1998 and the show’s 10-month shooting schedule began in early 2019. Yet it’s not hard to draw parallels between the show’s weary humanism and our new pandemic reality, with lines like “We’re connected, whether I like you or not” and “You […]

“I Had to Figure Out the True Latitude, Speed and Color Science”: DP Jeff Cronenweth On The Social Network Ten Years Later and the Mysterium X Sensor

On October 1, The Social Network turns ten. The RED Mysterium X sensor (also turning ten) that rendered the film is now outmoded, but The Social Network thrives due to, not in spite of, the marks of its time. The limited latitude of the once cutting-edge camera sensor pushed David Fincher and DP Jeff Cronenweth—who also shot Fincher’s Fight Club, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl—into the darker bends of The Social Network’s imitation Harvard dorms. The camera struggled with highlights, so they avoided hot windows and sunny exteriors. It also strained to digest warm tones, so they chose […]

“Take Control Over the Color and Build That Into the Sets”: DP Frederick Elmes on Hunters

Early on in his career cinematographer Frederick Elmes worked as a camera operator for John Cassavetes and was a director of photography on David Lynch’s debut feature Eraserhead, laying the groundwork for a career that would absorb and expand upon both those influences. Like Cassavetes, Elmes is a filmmaker who knows how to frame and showcase great performances; his multiple collaborations with Ang Lee, Jim Jarmusch and Tim Hunter have yielded career best work from Kevin Kline, Bill Murray, Joan Allen, Matt Dillon and many others. Yet like Lynch, Elmes is also supremely attuned to the visual properties of cinema […]

“I’m Going For, ‘Capture It Now, Use It Later’”: DP Danna Krinsky on Shooting Drone Stock Footage in a Pandemic

Based in Los Angeles, Danna Kinsky has worked in a wide range of genres and formats, from independent features and documentaries to music videos, concerts, commercials and aerial cinematography. She is affiliated with several groups: The International Female Collective of Cinematographers (ICFC), The American Society of Cinematographers’ Motion Imagine Technology Committee, and Women in Media. Since the COVID-19 lockdown, Kinsky has been shooting drone footage of a deserted Los Angeles. Filmmaker: How have you been coping with the lockdown? Kinsky: Generally, as a filmmaker, I always strive to keep costs low. Finances are a problem, just like they are for […]

“It’s Very Interesting to Live Without This Adrenaline…”: DP Łukasz Żal on Slowing Down While in Quarantine

Cinematographer Łukasz Żal received an Oscar nomination for his first feature, Ida, and well as for his second collaboration with director Paweł Pawlikowski, Cold War. Last year he worked on his first US production, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, written and directed by Charlie Kaufman and based on the novel by Iain Reid. Żal spoke with Filmmaker by phone from Poland. Filmmaker: How are you? Łukasz Żal: I’m good, I’m staying in my parents’ house by a lake. I don’t feel comfortable because the whole world is suffering. Hopefully it will end well. But this time honestly is not so […]

“There is a Lot of Necessary Nurturing to Be Found in the ‘Not Doing’”: DP Natasha Brauer On Productivity Culture During Lockdown

Natasha Braier has worked on a wide variety of films, from Claudia Llosa’s intense 2009 drama The Milk of Sorrow / La Teta Asustada to Nicolas Winding Refn’s ice-cold 2016 feature The Neon Demon. In 2018 she shot Gloria Bell, Sebastián Lelio’s English-language remake of his earlier movie Gloria. Last year she was director of cinematography on Alma Har’el’s feature debut Honey Boy. Braier’s work is distinguished not only by her vivid imagery but also by her acute psychological insight into characters and narrative. Braier was in preproduction on Don’t Worry Darling, director Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to Booksmart, when the […]

“This is the Headline: ‘You Can’t Do It Alone. So Do It With People You Love’”: DP and Director Christopher Doyle on

Scheduled for this year’s Cannes Film Festival was a 20th-anniversary screening of Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love. Along with awards for actor Tony Leung Chui-wai and editor, costume designer, and production designer William Chang Suk-ping, the film received the Grand Prize of the Superior Technical Commission for directors of photography Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bing. Doyle had hoped to present his latest films, including Love After Love, at the festival before it was postponed on April 14. Directed by Ann Hui, Love After Love is a period romance adapted from a work by writer Eileen Chang. […]

“People Live on Hope When There’s Limited Freedom”: DP Gonzalo Amat on The Man in the High Castle and SEAL Team

Two of the most elegantly directed and photographed shows on television and streaming right now—and two of the most disparate in terms of their visual style and tone—share a common filmmaker, cinematographer and director Gonzalo Amat. I first became aware of Amat’s work as director of photography on The Man in the High Castle, Amazon’s bold and nerve-shredding adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel that imagines an alternate America ruled by Japanese and German powers following a US loss in World War II. In its fourth and final season, The Man in the High Castle jumps between multiple realities […]

“All of our Frames Match Exactly on Every Pass”: DP Stefan Duscio on The Invisible Man, the Alexa Mini LF and Compositing Uninterrupted Shots

The newest incarnation of The Invisible Man is not a scientist driven mad by his own discovery but a tech billionaire, Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), whose newest creation—an “invisibility suit”—allows him to silently terrorize his ex, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss). When Adrian’s lair is revealed along with the suit’s resting place, production folks are in for a knowing chuckle—holding the suit up are a set of Mafers and Israeli arms. For the uninitiated, the former is a clamp frequently used by the grip department and the latter is an adjustable arm for attaching onboard monitors to cameras. It’s a sly bit of low-budget inventiveness […]